Cumner (St. Michael)

CUMNER (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Abingdon, hundred of Hormer, county of Berks; comprising the tythings of Bradley, Chawley, Henwood, Hillend, Stroud, Swinford, and Whitley, the liberty of Chilswell, and the township of Cumner; and containing 1058 inhabitants, of whom 608 are in the township, 5¼ miles (N. N. W.) from Abingdon. This was one of the appendages to the abbey of Abingdon, whose abbots had a residence here called Cumner Hall, now in ruins, which is noted as the place of the murder of the Countess of Leicester by the direction of her husband, the favourite of Queen Elizabeth: many of the scenes of Sir Walter Scott's Kenilworth are connected with the locality. The parish comprises 6637a. 2r. 38p.; the surface is very elevated, and the greater portion consists of the hills of Cumner and Wytham, rising nearly 300 feet above the level of the river Thames, which bounds the parish for nearly three miles. The soil is various; in some parts clayey, in others sandy, alternated with stone brash. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £24. 17., and in the gift of the Earl of Abingdon: the tithes were commuted for land and money payments, in 1795 and 1814. The church is an ancient structure, containing some interesting monuments, among which are those of two abbots of Abingdon, and a monument to Anthony Foster, a retainer of the Earl of Leicester's, by whom the countess was murdered. A mineral spring here was formerly much frequented for its reputed virtues, but is now disused.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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